ChicagoMarathon 2013

Rita Jeptoo Photo

Kenya's Rita Jeptoo, who finished second in the 2012 Chicago Marathon women's race and won
Boston last spring, answers a reporter's question. (Photo/Mike Reilley)

Some Elite Runners Nervous Over Race, Security

By Mike Chamernik

Posted: Friday, Oct. 11, 2013

Elite runners will be keeping April’s tragedy at the Boston Marathon – two bombings that killed three spectators and left 264 people injured – in the back of their minds during Sunday’s race, but they say they won’t let it affect the way they run.

“You think about security when you start the race, but when you are in it… you are focusing on running the road,” 2011 Chicago Marathon winner Moses Mosop said. “I think everything’s going to be OK on Sunday.”

Chicago has fine-tuned its security for Sunday, with thousands of undercover cops and 22,000 cameras monitoring the route. The athletes themselves can’t use their own backpacks: they must use the clear plastic bags issued by race organizers.

Even with the increased crowd control, some runners still are a little anxious about what might happen. Among them is Kenya's Rita Jeptoo, who won the 2013 Boston Marathon women's division shortly before the terrorist attacks began.

“Yeah, I’m worried,” said Jeptoo, who finished second in last year's Chicago Marathon women's division. “You are thinking maybe if you finish again it’ll start bombing. But I think everything is OK.”

Defending women's wheelchair champion Tatyana McFadden said she isn't "worried about anything going on on Sunday.”

“I think that security has been great, they’ve been really helpful," she said. "They just want to make it safe for everybody.”

Marathon Notebook

Prize Money: The men’s and women’s runners will receive a $100,000 for a first-place finish, $50,000 for second, $25,000 for third, $15,000 for fourth and $10,000 for fifth. The top five American finishers for men and women will get between  $10,000 and $1,000. The top five Illinois finishers get between $3,000 and $1,000, and the top five wheelchair racers get between $10,000 and $3,000. If a men’s or women’s runner breaks the course records (2:04:38 for men and 2:17:18 for women), he or she will get a $75,000 bonus.

Fighting Illni: The University of Illinois is heavily represented in the marathon, counting elite racers like McFadden, Joshua George and Amanda McGrory as alumni. “We’ve always had a great tradition of University of Illinois athletes who have competed here and gone on to compete internationally,” executive race director Carey Pinkowski said. “It’s our hometown team against the internationals.”

Back-to-Back Races: Elite wheelchair runner Josh Cassidy participated in a 10-kilometer international race in Ottawa, Canada, just three days before the Chicago Marathon. “Some people chose not to do it,” Cassidy said. “It’s kind of a frame of mind, where you’re at. But for me I thought it was a good race as kind of a ramp up for Sunday.”

Ready to Go: Last year’s women’s champion Atsede Baysa had stomach surgery four months ago, but she insists she’ll be ready for Sunday. “I’m OK,” Baysa said, “no problem.”

Matt Tegenkamp Photo

Two-time Olympic distance runner Matt Tegenkamp meets with the media. (Photo/Mike Reilley)

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